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I’m Azeem Azhar. I’m exploring how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies and other trends. I convene Exponential View (https://azm.io/ev2030) to help us explore these topics.
I'm sharing my ideas about what the next ten years will hold. Below are short notes; find the full essay here https://azm.io/ev2030
1. Climate change will be the dominant narrative. Addressing climate change will require a concerted effort of World War II scale, but a genuinely global one
2. Our geopolitics will continue to fragment and this will result in more conflict. Beside the major blocks, and smaller yet significant players, the major technology platforms will demand a seat at the table. Where will the forums for co-operation reside?
3. We’ll rethink the shape and purpose of our economies. We’ll ask hard questions about ‘rentier capitalism’, and yes, neoliberalism will be put to bed. We may go as far as rethinking the purpose of our economies to sustainably deliver on the needs of its population.
4. We’ll see the rise of new digital commons, economic institutions that are neither public- nor private- sector. Digital commons will be broadly fostered to ensure positive externalities and super-linear returns to aggregated resources are widely accessible to societies.
5. World trade will face a troika of headwinds: 1) geotechnical pressures, 2) environmental concerns, 3) technologies such as 3d printing and renewables will reduce the demand for large tankers to criss-cross the world.
6. Cities will become more important. They will lead the charge to build the affordances of more sustainable livelihoods and tackle climate change. City governments will engage in robust debates with national ones over who controls what.
7. We’ll eat far less meat. Plant-based diets will become more popular. Artificially cultured meat will remain a novelty. The health benefits of plant-based diets together with their better energy footprint and cost-basis will give them an advantage over lab-grown meats.
8. The big tech companies, particularly Facebook, Google and Amazon, will work aggressively to increase their footprint over the coming years. They will hoover up data wherever they can and use their balance sheets to expand into new arenas.
9. AI will be everywhere: Because of breakthroughs in semiconductors optimised for ML and the availability of noisy-intermediate scale quantum computers, our economies will be able to call on millions or, perhaps, billions of times more compute on which to run potent algorithms.
10. There will be a generational shift. Those in their mid 40s will graduate to be global leaders. The divisional work of large firms will be handled by those in their 30s, a generation of the Internet. The creators of our economy for the next decade are between 15 and 25 now.